Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

Anne Dalke's picture

Writing the unthinkable: the cul-de-sac of creative evolution

I've just finished an interesting late '60-ish memoir-ish novel (novel-ish memoir? really not quite sure about the genre here) called Divorcing, by Susan Taubes, a BMC philosophy major '51, later philosopher, epistemologist--and suicide. Taubes's memoir/novel is very cinematic and dream-like in its cutting back and forth between the world w/in and the world w/out (and in its confusions about where one ends and the other begins--as well as how books operate in that space in between: "You can be dreaming and not know it. You can be awake and wonder if it’s a dream and not believe it. But...with a book, whether you’re reading it or writing it, you are awake…In a book she knew where she was" [88]).

Anyhow, it looks as though Susan Taubes and her (in)famous husband tried a series of miserably unconventional, unhappy  arrangements, motivated largely by the assumption that "romantic love is the great cul-de-sac of creative evolution. God’s big booboo” (246). And so, in the context of that memoir/novel, I found myself wondering whether that  is, in large part, what these many words below are circling 'round: the question whether our loving (committed?) relationships w/ one another 1) fuel or 2) stunt our own growth--along with that of the universe. How much are they open to life's possibilities, how much do they close 'em down?

Speaking of which: I spent a good portion of the past weekend in a workshop on "Writing the Unthinkable" with Lynda Barry, who, it turns out, has a pretty good sense of how the unconscious works to feed consciousness : almost all the exercises she gave us were intended to "open up the drawbridge between the back of the brain and the front of it," to help us develop a "gradual belief in a spontaneous ordering form available in the back of our minds."

But for me the workshop (all two-day-long eight hours of it!) stopped short, in not going beyond the brainstorming portion of writing to the revising and editing and forward-moving part. We were accessing the past --" go back to the earliest times," Barry said again and again; and while you're there, make a list of your elementary school classmates, or of other people's mothers. But there wasn't any moving into (writing to?) the future. We were accessing memories, enjoying the experience of writing...whereto?

 

Reply

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
10 + 9 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.